“Wallace and Gromit” break the curse of recent bad films

Betsy Milarcik

The Wallace and Gromit movie has come out at a most appropriate time. The film does, after all, tell the curse of a most terrible were-rabbit, and Halloween is just around the corner! But “most terrible were-rabbit” isn’t as appropriate as “giggle inducing were-rabbit.” Perhaps this is not the best flick to catch is you’re looking for Halloween spooks.

“The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” is the tale of Wallace, a simple but goodhearted inventor, and his painfully faithful dog Gromit. Wallace and Gromit earn fame and appreciation from their neighbors as Anti-Pesto, a humane and highly successful pest control service. When critters, rabbits to be specific, stir in the depths of night, Anti-Pesto shows up to snatch them away, relocating the “inmates” to bunny hutches in their very own basement. Anti-Pesto’s heroics are especially important to this little town, as the Giant Vegetable Festival, the highlight of the townsfolk’s lives, is approaching.

Everyone in the town looks forward to the competition, especially Lady Tottington, the very wealthy, beautiful (at least in Wallace’s eyes) and caring supporter of “all things fluffy.” When she has rabbit problems, she calls upon Anti-Pesto rather than her somewhat violent suitor, Victor Quartermaine. But then trouble strikes. An unusually large beast, dubbed “the Were-Rabbit,” begins tearing through the town, ripping through vegetables at an alarming rate. Anti-Pesto is assigned the job of capturing the violator, but with the Giant Vegetable Festival fast approaching, are they up to the challenge? Or will the town turn to less bunny-friendly methods as time runs out?

By just looking at the plot, “The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” may seem dull, a film meant for children. But the movie is filled with a charm that makes it enjoyable for all ages. The simplicity and the innocence is a refreshing break from the complexity and darkness of the usual movie theater fair.

Much of the film’s charm comes from its medium. The painstaking process of claymation is used to give life to Wallace and Gromit. Making “The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” took the filmmakers five years, but it was worth it. Claymation, for example, makes Lady Tottington’s odd resemblance to a carrot possible, quite appropriate and humorous considering the bunny-heavy plot. These furry creatures, however, are what make the movie complete. Possibly more adorable than real rabbits, these clay critters wave to the screen, throw tiny punches and howl in imitation of the titular beast. Their appearances, scattered throughout the film, are what really give “The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” its carroty crunch.

Likeable characters also make this film enjoyable. The absent-minded Wallace and the sensible Gromit make quite a pair. Wallace seems to create trouble while Gromit keeps him in line. The pooch puts up with quite a lot from his disaster-prone master as he tries out various inventions and strays from his vegetable only diet (no cheese).

But Wallace, with his big goofy smile and his head in the clouds, has something endearing about him too. There would be no “The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” without these two.

Wallace and Gromit star in a film that is fresh, uncomplicated and just plain silly. This is a light film, perfect for a break from the real, giant vegetable lacking world. “The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” is just right if you’re looking for a bit of fun that doesn’t involve torrid affairs and high speed car chases (although there is a mildly intense coin-operated airplane chase). Make Wallace and Gromit your next movie if you too support “all things fluffy.”